Friday, August 31, 2012

“Borjomi” may change owners

31.08.2012 (Hvino News). Well-known Georgian mineral water brand “Borjomi” may soon change its owner after the brand has been put for sale, Russian business daily Kommersant reported today.

According to the paper’s sources, the initial value of the IDS-Borjomi Beverages N.V. is evaluated at 400-500 million USD. Some big Western and Russian companies have already put an eye on the brand. Standard Capital, Ashmore Investment, Russian Direct Investment Fund, TPG Capital, Klever Asset Management and AFK Sistema were named among those looking to buy IDS Borjomi from Salford Capital Partners, which is controlled by Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky.

Russian authorities banned the Georgian-produced mineral water — along with Georgian wine — from the country in 2006, citing poor quality of the product. Until then, Russia was the brand's biggest market. The company's share in the market was over 10 percent, according to AC Nielsen.

Company's annual turnover is estimated at $200-250 million. Besides mineral water bottling plant in Borjomi the company has plants in Ukraine. Management of IDS-Borjomi in Georgia is related also to Georgian wine brands Château Mukhrani and GWS.

© Hvino News

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spotlight on Georgia at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in Italy

30.08.2012 (Hvino News). Over 250 farmers, artisans, chefs are participating in the "Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre" this October in Turin, Italy, to showcase the rich food and wine biodiversity of their regions.

Georgian wines will be represented in the general exhibition (by Winery Khareba and other companies) as well as in several specialized workshops, such as workshop "WINES FROM THE BALKANS AND GEORGIA" (Hall F), "a  fascinating journey eastwards to the origins of wine, from Croatia to the Balkans, through Anatolia and finally to Georgia, the mythical homeland of Jason and the Argonauts. You’ll taste red and a white from the Kakheti and Imereti regions of Georgia, from the Slow Food Georgian Wine in Jars Presidium".

Another workshop focusing on Georgian wine will be "IN AMPHORA VERITAS?" (Hall F): "Are wines aged in amphorae a way to fully reveal the terroir or just a fleeting trend? Producing wines with a long maceration on the skins in terracotta containers is an ancient tradition, originally from Georgia, and is becoming an increasingly common winemaking practice. More and more winemakers are trying out the technique, with very interesting results. In this workshop, organized by the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, you’ll taste examples from different countries like Georgia (a Slow Food Presidium), Italy, Austria, Croatia, France and Germany", according to "Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre" official information.

© Hvino News

Swiss company will monitor cargo at Georgian-Russian checkpoints

by Anna Robakidze

29.08.2012. Russia finally ended its long-term negotiations with Georgia and a number of other countries by officially joining the WTO and becoming the 156th member of the organization on August 22nd. Russia had already integrated into the global economy so the entry is primarily in the interest of its domestic economy.

Georgian-Russian negotiations were conducted with the help of Switzerland, which played the role of neutral mediator in the discussions. The countries have signed a number of bilateral documents and now all parties are looking forward to the possible benefits that stem from the new trading agreement with Russia– especially considering these relations will be regulated by WTO law.

Russia placed an embargo on a number of Georgian products back in 2006. The closing of the market by the Russians was more a political step rather than a natural action against the quality of products produced in Georgia as claimed by Moscow at the time. However, the situation is due to be changed now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New wine shops of Winery Khareba

In August, 2012, new wine stores of Winery Khareba were opened in Batumi and Akhaltsikhe. Wine Bar and shop are located in one of the most beautiful buildings of the oldest district of Batumi (Gamsakhurdia/Melashvili #28/30), while in Akhaltsikhe it occupies most distinguished place of Rabati Castle. This is a really pleasant surprise for wine gourmets.

In all specialty wine shops of our company you can taste and purchase all types of our wine. It's the best meeting place for tourists and guests with its cozy atmosphere. As well as the company's other specialty stores in Kakheti, Mtskheta, Terjola and Tbilisi, here the wine aging cellar is also located, where Winery Khareba's best wines are presented.

In addition, the visitors can also buy the company's best bulk wines: semi-sweet Kindzmarauli and European style dry white wine,  kept in specialty reservoirs of Della Toffola. The specialty stores of Winery Khareba is a real descovery for local and foreign tourists. The visitors can also taste Qvevri wines (wine fermented and matured in clay vessel) named also as Monastery Wines, which are already well known among professional enologists.

Company news

Monday, August 27, 2012

Russia’s Accession to WTO May Result in Lifting of Embargo on Georgian Products

Photo: Martial Trezzini/Keystone/Associated Press
by Nana Mghebrishvili

27.08.2012. Russia has at last entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) after 19 years of stop-start negotiations as it was the last big economy outside the global trade body. As a result Russia has no right to have an unequal trade relationship with any member country including Georgia. Therefore experts now expect Russia to lift the embargo on Georgian products in the ensuing months.

“Lifting the ban is a political decision,” said Amiran Kavadze, expert and former Permanent Representative of Georgia to the UN Office and Other International Organizations at Geneva, Ambassador. “But now Russia has no other option but to liberalize trade with WTO member countries. The embargo is undeniably in breach of WTO norms and regulations. Now Russia’s foreign trade is regulated with strict rules and the Russian Federation has to apply the MFN (GATT) principle with Georgia. If not, we can officially appeal against it through the Dispute Settlement Body of WTO. Sanctions will be quite sensitive for Russia.”

Tap on screen to find your Khvanchkara

26.08.2012 (Hvino News) Seems like a trend - is Georgian wine really becoming popular among iPhone users? Earlier this month Hvino News wrote about the first Georgian wine iPhone application: see article Has anyone tried Georgian Wine for iPhone?

Now our radars have spotted yet another app for iPhone platform published  today - also focusing on Georgian wine.

Called simply "Wine App", this application is "for getting information on Georgian wine sorts and finding original locations", according to official description. Price tag: no info.

There are dozens of wine iPhone applications, so why not start competing for the best one on Georgian wine? Hope the wine aficionados will be happy with them. As long as they tap on the right buttons. 

© Hvino News

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hvino News Weekend: Vote, comment and have some fun

We introduce Hvino News Weekend to ease the week's stress and have some fun. It's a highly irregular set of  things to do ranging from down to earth to highly intellectual. Why don't you try them all? It's very simple as long as you have got a Facebook account. The current menu options are:

Answer the poll - name your favorite Georgian wine(s).  See what other people's tastes are. Share and ask your friends, too. The link is here.

The Toasts! It's the second best place (after the supra table) to share your favorite Georgian toasts... The link is here.

Do not forget to check out the photos of Miss Georgian Wine Contest, and to vote for the ones you like (by clicking 'like' button). The link is here. Also, please spread the word and encourage your friends and employees from wine making industry to enter the Contest.

All readers are cordially invited to participate. Have a good weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

"The Prague Post": Georgia on my mind

by John & Helena Baker
Former Soviet country has a varied, robust output of wines
At this year's Víno a Delikatesy exhibition, quite the first impression was made by Georgia, a small nation on the far edge of Europe that has put great effort toward placing its wines on the world's tables.

Georgia has a good case for it to be called the cradle of wine. The original ancestor of the Vitis vinifera grape grew wild in the whole Transcaucasia region 8,000 years ago. Georgian folklore and its Christian tradition, unbroken since the fourth century, are so entwined with references to the grapevine that it is impossible to conceive one without the other. Besides, the Georgian word "gvino" is the root for most Western names for wine: oinos, vinum, vino, vin, vinho, Wein, víno and so forth.

In Georgia, wine is traditionally made in huge clay amphorae, called kvevri, that are cleaned thoroughly before everything - trodden grapes, stalks, skins - goes in and then buried vertically underground, sealed and left for a few months until the time for its celebration. And this will not be long, as Georgian hospitality works by the ancient saying "God brought us our guests." Any celebratory table is replete with vibrantly colored dishes and, of course, wine. The meal is a very happy affair, interspersed by the interjections of the designated tamada, or toastmaster, who stands up every 15 minutes or so to deliver a short homily before proposing a drink to health, love, good wine, etc.

Georgia starts grape harvesting

24.08.2012 (Hvino News). Georgia is starting grape harvesting, which is more than simply agricultural works, but a national holiday known as Rtveli. Rtveli was initially planned for August 25, but wine-makers in Kakheti, the Georgian wine center, already started harvesting.

Heavy rain and hail this year destroyed about 8,000 hectares of grape.  The harvest in Kakheti dropped from 130,000 to 80,000-90,000. The sugar level of grape has reached 22 degrees. 55 centers for grape reception will be operating, compared with 40 last year, head of the Gurjaani District administration David Meskhishvili said. Traditionally, many urban families will visit their relatives and friends to help them collect grape for wine-makers.

About 113,000 tons of grape, including 82,000 tons of Rkatsiteli and 26,000 tons of Saperavi, were collected in Kakheti in 2011.

© Hvino News

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Georgia's 8,000-Year-Old Wine

File:Gori reis 08 (10).jpg
Kvevri discovered near Gori
22.08. 2012. There are few wine regions so obscure as those of the country of Georgia. Many people can’t even point Georgia out on a map, let alone name a wine grape varietal from it. Yet in Georgia lies the origin of all our modern-day winemaking, without which there would be no Bordeaux, Tuscany, or Napa Valley. So for those of you who love drinking a fine Burgundy or a nice Barolo, I suggest you pay your respects to the oldest wine region in the world and say gaumarjos (cheers) with a glass of red Saperavi or white Rkatsiteli in hand!

According to Greek myths, wine was flowing in the Kolkheti region (home to the legendary Golden Fleece) since well before the 8th century BC. At this time, people of the South Caucasus had discovered the magical transformation that would take place when wild grape juice was left in shallow pits through the winter. The perfect climate, mineral-rich soil, and abundant water available in the Caucasian Mountain area made wine production easy. (The Kolkheti region still makes a famous fortified white port-style wine from Tsitska and Tsolikauri grapes today)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Georgian President to reside in Kakheti during grape harvest

22.08.2012. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili intends to reside at his country house in Kvareli [in Kakheti Region, where the President also has own vineyard - HN] during harvest time and monitor the process of grape deliveries to wineries. Grape harvesting will begin on August 25 this year.

Saakashvili said wineries have received the appropriate instructions on receiving grapes from the vinyards. The president noted that it is necessary to carry out the harvesting despite the natural disaster in Kakheti.

It is planned to collect only 90,000 tons of grapes instead of previously expected 130,000 tons, depleted due to the natural disaster in Georgia.

As a result of yesterday's heavy rain and wind dozens of homes are flooded in the Kvareli and Lagodekhi regions. Heavy wind blew off the roofs of many houses in the village of Chumlaki village in the Gurjaani municipality. The Lagodekhi district also suffered as a result of the natural disaster.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Shota Kobelia: "You have to “ferment” your education". Exclusive interview of Hvino News with CEO of Teliani Valley

20.08.2012 (Hvino News) Today Hvino News starts to publish exclusive interviews with leaders of Georgia’s winemaking industry. Our guest today is Mr. Shota Kobelia, chief executive officer of Teliani Group. He kindly agreed to answer our questions.

We suggest starting the interview with your company’s brief outline.  Can you tell us several main facts about your company today? This may be you total production figures, export figures, awards/prizes, or other highlights that you consider as important achievements.

SC Teliani Valley was founded in 1997 on the basis of “Teliani Winery of Vintage Wines”, which was built in 19th century in Tsinandali, in the neighborhood of Teliani’s vineyards. Tsinandali, due to peculiarities of its soil and microclimate, has always been the center of Georgian viticulture. Here in 1886-1887, at the place of the old wine cellar and winery of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, a two-storey, 150 thousand-bucket winery was built by the decree of the Russian Emperor’s brother Michael Romanov. In 1891 Mossano, French winemaker from Bordeaux was invited to this cellar.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Georgian wine struggles for market share in Riga

by Robert Linkous

16.08.2012. Many are the splendors of Riga – blocks and blocks of dazzling Art Nouveau architecture, flowery green public parks as ablaze with color as many an Impressionist painting, motorists who wait at respectful and humane distances while pedestrians stroll past in clearly marked cross walks – and now Georgian food and wine can be added to their numbers.

Not far from the Central Train Station, in the Spikeri Creative Quarter, is the Pirosmani restaurant, open for business since February 2010. Its walls are devoted to sizable reproductions of the work of the artist to whom the restaurant pays homage, and its menu is as typically Georgian as any to be found in Tbilisi.

“Everyone likes the khachapuri,” reported waitperson Veronika Anikina, to which a happy diner, chowing down at the moment, chimed in his assent. But the khinkali also has its devotees, as do the Tsinandali and Mukuzani with which to wash them down.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Irish Times": Georgia on my mind

by Daniel McLaughlin (abridged)

18.08.2012. CLINGING TO THE EASTERN edge of Europe, where the continent slides into the Black Sea and soars into the Caucasus, Georgia has always tantalised travellers with promise of the extraordinary. Legend has it that the Golden Fleece enticed Jason and his Argonauts on a voyage to the farthest fringe of the ancient Greek world, where they had to slay the harpies, a gang of six-armed giants, and a fire-breathing dragon to secure their prize.

For the tsars, Georgia was an exotic land beckoning beyond the mountains, inviting invasion for its strategic value in Russia’s struggle with Persian and Ottoman empires, and subsequently savoured by the Russian elite for its wonderful wine, food, scenery and women.

Georgia and the surrounding region beguiled great Russian writers of the 19th century such as Tolstoy, Pushkin and Lermontov, who all spent several years in the Caucasus. Anton Chekhov only holidayed there, but of that “wonderful summer” he wrote to a friend: “If I lived in the Caucasus, I’d write fairy tales there. An amazing country!”

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Wall Street Journal: In Astoria, a World of Wine

by Lettie Teague (excerpts)

17.08.2012. If the United Nations ran a wine shop, it might look something like Grand Wine & Liquor in Astoria, Queens (save, perhaps, for the full-window displays of Chivas, Courvoisier and Patrón). I've never been in a New York store with a larger selection of wines I'd never heard of and names that I have no idea how to pronounce. A short list of the countries represented includes: Brazil, Holland, Croatia, Romania, Moldova, Morocco, Slovenia, Tunisia, the Republic of Georgia and Greece—as well as all the more "usual" countries such as Italy, Germany, Australia, Austria, the U.S. and France.

A selection of the wines from the Republic of Georgia.  Photo: Andrew Hinderaker for The Wall Street Journal

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Georgian Wine in UK: Wine shop in line for prestigious award

06.08.2012. British wine retailer Turton Wines (in Darwen Road, Bromley Cross) has been shortlisted in new category Wine Retailer of the Year 2012 for the Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards. The competition hails the best pubs, restaurants, chefs and food and drink retailers Greater Manchester has to offer.

Owner Brett Dawson said: “We are excited. “We didn’t expect it, we are not sure who has put us forward. We have only been open for just over a year. We started online back in 2008 and our focus was on wines from unusual places. It was always our intention to open a shop, it was just finding the right location.”

One of the shop’s most popular wines comes from the country of Georgia, one of the oldest wine producing regions of the world. In 2006, Georgia’s neighbouring country Russia banned the sale of its wines in what many believed to be a politically- motivated move. This led to the country exporting more wine than it had previously and countries around the world began buying Georgian wine.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We recommend: Tbilvino Saperavi Red from Georgia

by Subhash Arora

14.08.2012. It is difficult to find interesting, unique and tasty wines in the sub-thousand rupee range in Retail. Saperavi Red wine from Tbilvino winery in Georgia is an ideal exception. The wine costing between Rs. 800-1000 [that's Indian Rupee - HN] is an award winning wine from a recognized Georgian producer and is ideal for kebabs and pizzas, meaty snacks and a few vegetarian foods as well.

While judging at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition last November, I came across wines with grapes like Saparevi red and Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli white grapes. Most people in my panel of which I was the President had not tasted these varietals before. But the wines had enough personality and vivaciousness to win a few awards. That’s when I realized that Georgia makes some very good wines besides being the oldest wine producing region in the world.

At a dinner a few months ago,  where the Georgian Ambassador to India, Mr. Zurab Katchkatchishvili invited me to taste a couple of Georgian wines that included a Saperavi red and a Mtsvane/ Rkatsiteli white, we found ourselves finishing off the bottles among 5 of us before ordering another wine from the restaurant.

Georgian wine export grows

13.08.2012. Wine exports have increased recently, although the number has not reached the level of exported wine into Russia (before Russia imposed its embargo on Georgian wine). Nevertheless, the amount of exported wines keeps increasing. In 2011 Georgia exported $54 million in wine. In the first half of 2012, Georgia has exported $25.5 million in wine.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Hvino News" announces Miss Georgian Wine Contest

It's August, and for many of us it is vacation time. Hvino News is a business site, but we do not want to be boring when everybody else is having fun.

We offer to spice up the routine with... a beauty contest. We hope it adds spirit of very healthy competition to wine business. Hvino News is pleased to announce the first Miss Georgian Wine Photo Contest!

The terms of Miss Georgian Wine Photo Contest are very simple:

The Contest is open to everyone whose work is directly related to Georgian wine - winegrowers, employees of wine companies and organizations, distributors, retailers, exporters, wine journalists and experts, wine teachers and students, staff of wine guesthouses and travel agencies, and other professionals.

How to participate: Simply email us 1 (one) photo, at Miss[at]artenom-cfe.com, telling your name and how your place of work/study is related to wine.

Requirements: No group photos, no sunglasses. Inappropriate photos will be filtered out. And yes, to participate you need to be female. Marital status and country of residence are not important.

Promoting Georgian Wines in the Philippines

12.08.2012 (Hvino News) Honorary Consulate of Georgia in the Philippines posted information about meeting of Georgia's Consul Thelmo Cunanan with a group of Manila-based wine merchants, distributors, and experts. Leading the group was Mr. Lester Harvey Jr., President of Zen Asia Inc., one of the leading wine distributors in the country.

The event, entitled “A Light Liquid Lunch”, was aimed at introducing new wines to the group for possible retail and distribution in the Philippine market. The wine merchants brought bottles mainly from South Africa. Consul Cunanan, however, brought a bottle of white wine (Manavis Mtsvane 2010) from the Teliani Valley in the Kakheti region of Easter Georgia. It was the first time Philippine wine distributors tried Georgian wine and the first initiative at introducing Georgian wine to the local market. The experts agreed that the Teliani Valley wine was an interesting but rather young vintage and quite different in body and style from western European or traditional New World bottles. They expressed interest to try other Georgian wines, which Consul Cunanan is set to bring back to the Philippines.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mikheil Saakashvili Meets Racha Winemakers

Photo: Georgian Journal
10.08.2012. President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili met with the residents of the villages Khvanchkara [well-known as Georgian wine brand - HN], Khvartsuti and Nikortsminda in the Racha region. The President introduced the infrastructure projects to the locals.

Saakshvili spoke about he social programs that will take effect in the near future. “It is an honor for me to arrive in Khvanchkara community that includes several villages. I especially love the people in Racha, they are particularly hard working, warm, friendly and patriotic. Of course I think a lot about developing this place. We’re building roads everywhere in Racha. We’ll develop water supply system in all Racha villages, to solve this problem once and for all”, Mikheil Saakashvili said.

“We have to hold the vintage more organized than ever, as it is an issue of national dignity”, stressed Mikheil Saakashvili.


Georgian Market Lacks Competition

 by Nino Patsuria
08.08.2012. Geopatent (aka Sakpatenti - HN), Georgian intellectual property protection body, keeps alert over registration request of Inkerman-Rkatsiteli, Inkerman-Saperavi and Inkerman-Sauvignon-Rkatsiteli wine brands submitted by Ukrainian Inkerman Winery to Russia as far as both Rkatsiteli and Sapervai are Georgian varieties (read also: Inkerman: Ukrainian wine producer to export Georgian wine varieties to Russia).

Their improper registration may pose intellectual property violation risks. The Crimea-based Inkerman Winery submitted a request at Rospatent, intellectual property protection body of Russia, on registration of 9 new trademarks including three wines produced through traditional Georgian varietals Rkatsiteli and Saperavi: Inkerman-Rkatsiteli, Inkerman-Saperavi and Inkerman-Sauvignon-Rkatsiteli.

Marketing specialists think this is a right move to Ukrainian company for in spite of embargo imposed on Georgian wines in Russia since 2006 their names are quite popular and familiar to Russian society. Some people say Inkerman Winery’s initiative seems like a legal tool to take Georgian wines legally to Russia for the questioned trademarks include not appellations of origins of Georgian wines but grapes that is not prohibited.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Hvino News" to cooperate with Ministry of Economy

We are pleased to communicate that Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia offered to exchange banners with Hvino News. 

"We are glad to hear that there is a comprehensive news resource on Georgian wines in English", - says official letter from Georgia's Ministry. The team of Hvino News is honored to hear these words of appreciation from the Ministry. Thank you!

You may now see "Trade with Georgia" banner on our main page. The ministry's site also displays the banner of Hvino News.

Georgian winemakers visited Ukraine's “Wine Cultural Center Shabo”

09.08.2012. (Hvino News) On July 25-27 Georgian delegation visited Ukraine. The delegation consisted of leaders and top managers of the leading wineries in Georgia, heads of industry associations, government representatives and other officials. The purpose of the visit is exchange of experiences on development of "Wine Culture Centers" in Ukraine and Georgia.

On July  25 guests were met by Consul of Georgia in Odessa Teimuraz Nishnianidze. On July Georgian delegation visited Ukraine's  “Wine Cultural Center Shabo”. This project has been highly estimated in Ukraine:  in spring 2009 it was awarded with the first prize in nomination “The best innovation project”, at professional tourist competition “Black Sea Pearl”, and in 2010 the project received “Gold award” in nomination "Best project of regional tourism".Wine Cultural Center Shabo has been included into EU's map of European wine routes.

As was noted the chairman of board of "Shabo" Vaja Iukuridze, "wine-makers of Georgia and Ukraine have accumulated a wealth of experience to improve the culture of viticulture and winemaking. But among the citizens, culture of drinking is still very low. The task of wine-makers – is to clear for people the idea that the wine - is a culture. For this is needed to create "Wine Culture Centers". The round table was attended by Ambassador of Georgia to Ukraine Grigol Katamadze and Consul of Georgia in Odessa Teimuraz Nishnianidze.

Chairman of the Board of "Shabo" V. Iukuridze accompanied the delegation to the vineyards. Guests visited the 200 year old cellars and unique Museum's  labyrinth.

© Hvino News

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Georgian wine quota in Turkey remains unused

08.08.2012. One million quota envisaged for Georgian wine companies in the Turkish market remains outstanding, reports Radio Commersant.

In the framework of free trade agreement enacted between the two countries on November 1, 2008, Georgian wine companies can bring 1 million liters of wine per year to Turkey without paying customs duties. However, part of Georgian wine companies, despite interest towards the Turkish market, have failed to use this quota in neighboring country, because of absence of reliable partners.

Telavi Wine Cellar company explained that Turkish companies are not interested in Georgian wine and refuse to buy and sell the product. Kindzmarauli Marani  notes that it is difficult to find partners in Turkey, while organization of export is associated with  large expenses.

A note from Hvino News: Turkey has its own strong wine industry - the country has world’s fourth largest grape growing area and was fifth in the world in terms of total grape production in 2011.

Source, Hvino News